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Voices, Fall–Winter 2017:
Follow the links on the Table of Contents to see excerpts of articles and read columns.
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Volume 43

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Maritime Folklife of New York City’s Forgotten Borough [excerpt]
by Naomi Sturm and Daniel Franklin Ward

11 In Memoriam: Jack H. Leadley, Sr. (1927–2018)

17 Fruit in the Forest Foraging Apples and Pressing Cider in the Finger Lakes [excerpt]
by Maria Elizabeth Kennedy

23 At Work in the Garden of Eat and Be Eaten
by Chuck F. Tekula, Jr.

24 The Golden Arm”: Collecting and Performing the Folktale [excerpt]
by Timothy Jennings

30 Pageantry Puppets, Community Memory, and Living Traditions: Extending the Reach of Cultural and Educational Institutions into Immigrant Communities [excerpt]
by Kate Grow McCormick

38 In Memoriam: Gregory Sharrow (1950–2018)

40 The Market on Saturday Night
by Dan Milner

41 Two Poems: Jack “Legs” Diamond and Portal
by Shannon Cuthbert

42 Analysis and Intuition: Reflections on the Mystic Union of Measure and Abandon in the Art of Figure Drawing [excerpt]
by Stephen Alcorn

Departments and Columns

12 Upstate—Hunting for a Song
by Dan Berggren

13 The Poetry of Everyday Life—The Bell Tolls for Ringling
by Steve Zeitlin

16 Good Spirits—Shadow People
by Libby Tucker

29 Voices of New York: George Ward: Oh! That Low Bridge!
by Libby Tucker

35 ALN8BAL8MO: Jesse Cornplanter: Telling Stories with Pictures and Words
by Joseph Bruchac

37 From the Waterfront—In Harm’s Way”
by Nancy Solomon

39 Artist Spotlight—Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra


Cover: The Warasila bay house survived Superstorm Sandy due to the use of helical piles and having a trap door in the floor, which allows water in, but keeps the house in place during storms and hurricanes. Photograph by Martha Cooper, courtesy of Long Island Traditions. Read more in Nancy Solomon’s From the Waterfront column, “In Harm’s Way” on p. 37.

Ellen McHale,PhD
From the Fall–Winter 2017 issue of Voices:

Because of our statewide mission, the New York Folklore Society necessarily works in collaboration with a variety of partners. Our most extensive partner has been the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), with which we have partnered since 1990 to provide professional development and technical assistance to the folk arts community within New York State. With NYSCA, New York Folklore conducts the annual New York Folk Arts Roundtable and an ongoing Mentoring and Professional Development Program. NYSCA is also a partner in an annual folk arts internship that is provided to graduate students in folklore, so that they can gain on-the-job public folklore experience.

Since 2016, the New York Folklore Society has also partnered with the William G. Pomeroy Foundation in approving the placement of markers that designate specific sites as important to folklore in New York State. In the past few years, more than 30 markers have been placed throughout the state, highlighting the role of “place” in New York’s heritage. “Legends and Lore” recognizes the role of local legends and the folk stories of New York’s communities through markers explaining the tales. For more information, or to make a nomination, please see the website: www.wgpfoundation.org/index. cfm/nys-historic-grant-programs/legends-lore

The New York Folklore Society is pleased to enter into two new partnerships in 2018. Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education has begun a program in the Buffalo, NY, region in partnership with the New York Folklore Society. The project will train community tradition bearers and folk artists in the skills needed to be teaching artists within the K–12 school setting and will introduce classroom educators to curriculum connections, which can be made with folk and traditional arts. A workshop with the nationally recognized consultant on folk arts in education, Amanda Dargan, will be conducted in partnership with the Erie and Niagara County BOCES on August 21 and 22. Participating educators will have the opportunity to have a two-day artist residency in their own classrooms as a follow-up activity. This program is supported by grants from NYSCA and the National Endowment for the Arts, with plans to duplicate it in subsequent years.

Probably, our most extensive partnership in 2018 is our joining with the American Folklore Society (AFS) and NYSCA to co-chair the annual meeting of AFS. This annual conference draws hundreds of folklorists, oral historians, and cultural specialists for four days of academic presentations, workshops, forums, and professional development. This year’s theme is ”No Illusions, No Exclusions,” and it will be held October 17–20, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Buffalo. We hope you’ll plan to join us there as we showcase folklore and folklife, with a special focus on New York State.

The New York Folklore Society remains a membership organization, open to all. We hope to be in YOUR community soon.

Ellen McHale, PhD
Executive Director
New York Folklore Society

“...the making of art is an irrepressible force that is true of everyone.”

—Greg Sharrow, Folklorist, Vermont Folklife Center

Todd DeGarmo
From the Fall–Winter 2017 issue of Voices:

My friend Jack Leadley died April 4, 2018. He was 90 years old. I’ve known Jack for some 30 years. We first met during my first survey of folk artists working in the Adirondacks.

Called “An Adirondack Legend,” Jack was a skilled woodsman, hunter, and trapper. He was also an artist, writer, and snowshoe and ski instructor. He made beautiful pack baskets and rustic furniture. He flew a plane, giving me my first aerial view of the Adirondack Park, saying how handy it was for a quick trip to Maine to catch up with family over a lobster dinner, and be back in time to sleep in his own bed by nightfall.

Jack’s love of the Adirondacks came early in life. In the 1930s his family drove up from Staten Island to spend summers in a rented cabin on Lake Pleasant in Speculator, New York. The mountain air helped his father’s asthma. After serving in the Second World War, Jack returned to the mountains permanently, marrying his wife Joan and joining a family with roots that traced back to 1794.

He opened Leadley’s Adirondack Sugarbush in 1949. He and his family tapped some 2500 maple trees each spring to make maple syrup to sell from the gift shop on Route 30, just north of Speculator. It is one of several buildings on the 115-acre Leadley compound, along with immediate family households, including those of Leadley’s three adult children who are eighth-generation Lake Pleasant natives.

Jack’s Adirondack pack baskets were second to none. He made them the old fashioned way, cutting black ash trees, usually in the spring when the bark peels off easily. He soaked and pounded every square inch of the log, causing the annual growth rings to loosen and separate. He then pulled the splints off the full length of the log. These he smoothed and cut into uniform strips, to create the raw material used to weave the basket.

Jack had carried a pack basket since the 1940s while running his traplines, and began to make his own when quality baskets were getting hard to find. He shared this knowledge wholeheartedly with anyone. He’s noted as a strong supportive influence of many basketmakers, and I’ve found his interviews as far away as Maine. For me, he breathed life into the old, discarded pack basket hanging in the garage of my childhood, owned by my stepfather, who, according to a family story, was carried in it by his own stepfather across a frozen Saranac Lake. Jack carried his own young son in a pack basket of his making while hiking the woods near their home.

Jack also made rustic furniture. He is known for reviving the Whitehouse chair, originally made by Lee Fountain, a local innkeeper in the late 19th century. The chair has birch framing with woven seats of black ash splints and was an early addition to the Folklife Center’s Folk Art & Artist Collection, available for view, along with his other work, on www.nyheritage.org.

A Hamilton County destination was the bark shanty that Jack built back in the woods of his family’s compound. These small cabins, now rare, were once commonly used by woodsmen, hunters, trappers, and fishermen in the backcountry of the Adirondacks. He called it Camp Balsam and dedicated it to the memory of those “Adirondack pioneers who came here before us.”

Its design was based on a shanty built by Jack’s wife’s great-grandfather, George Burton, at Little Moose Pond in the 1890s. His shanty was framed with poles and covered with sheets of peeled bark. The front door faced south to catch the winter sun, and the west wall had a window covered with deer rawhide, diffusing a warm amber light inside. A flat side of a granite boulder formed the north wall and the back of an open fire pit. Inside, smoke escaped through a small, covered wooden tower on the roof. The two pole beds lining the walls of the 8 by 10-foot cabin were filled with fresh balsam. He welcomed visitors, including a special road trip from Glens Falls, as a part of our kids’ workshop series on “Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties.”

Jack demonstrated his craft at our earliest Adirondack folk festivals and children’s workshop series. He enjoyed these visits with us and with other venues like Fort Klock, Hanford Mills, and the Adirondack Museum. As he became more sought after, he began to limit these activities, as he recalled in a letter: “You and Crandall Library have always been special as I started going away from my workshop to demonstrate my work.” But it was a twoedged sword. “Almost all my work is sold on order...I don’t need more ‘exposure’. Working alone with no power tools limits my production.” He came to prefer staying on his own property in the woods, allowing folks to come to him: “My workshop is so complete for my production, I do not leave it much...July and August, there are visitors here every day. I like to be here as people interested in my work are an added benefit to meet.”

What an incredible joy it was to share an afternoon with Jack in his own workshop back in the Hamilton County woods.

A mini pack basket made by Jack was gifted to my family at the birth of my first son. Jack’s own son Rick carries on his dad’s role of maker of traditional rustic furniture, and his daughter Lynn continues to make the pack baskets.

Jack was a kind-hearted man, so very talented and generous with his time and his knowledge. Indeed, he was an “Adirondack Legend.” What an honor to have known him. Fare thee well, my good friend.

Todd DeGarmo
Voices Acquisitions Editor
Founding Director of the Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library






Fall–Winter 2017, Volume 43:3–4

Acquisitions Editor
   Todd DeGarmo
Copy Editor
   Patricia Mason
Administrative Manager
   Laurie Longfield
   Mary Beth Malmsheimer
   Eastwood Litho

Editorial Board Todd DeGarmo, Chair.
Gabrielle Berlinger, Sydney Hutchinson, Maria Kennedy, David Puglia, Puja Sahney, Joseph Sciorra, Emily Socolov, Nancy Solomon

Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore is published twice a year by the New York Folklore Society, Inc.

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